That morning was as usual as of any other day. Bus number 620 stopped at Factory’s West Gate. We climbed in, following her in a queue. I sat beside her while others standing near our seat chortling over silly, stupid and baseless discussions. Our Stylo adeptly tried to get a good look of her while uninterested but silently joining our discussions. His sleepless eyes were pinkish and swollen but right on the target.
He was the most determined guy no matter whatsoever – study, sports or for that matter even love. He convinced our lazy group to wake up at 6:30 AM and walk approximately 3 Kilometers almost daily to catch the 620 at Factory’s West Gate just to get five more minutes to get her nearness. Typically 620, en route to our college, took five minutes from Factory’s West Gate – her boarding point – to our hostel stop that once upon a time used to be our boarding point.
First day she was shocked to see us coming in opposite direction to go to college but immediately Stylo took her out from her shocking state,
“Health is wealth… you know… morning breeze very healthy”
0 Compilation Error. 0 Linking Error.
Thanks to her “Computer” mind that could not link double benefits if breeze would be better administered to our “unhealthy” body while walking in direction of the college.
It’s all started three weeks before that day when our first semester result was declared.
Six months ago when we joined the college, he was my room partner – always buried in books, never wore jeans but also never compromised on his look and dress. Even in winter, every morning he bathed and shampooed his weekly trimmed hair. His black shoes always shined, sometime even more than his glittering swollen eyes seeing the test results. His dress well ironed, better than our professors’. Overall if I was North Pole – a vivacious, funny, carefree North Indian who believed that backlogs were ornament and essence of masculinity – then he was South Pole – a polished, disciplined, “liked by every mom” type of South Indian who believed that every reference in assignment papers needed a thorough study to justify his presence in this renowned engineering college. We named him Stylo because his real name, something like Sithapathi Thimmapuram Yadhunandan Lakshminarayana Opillamani, was too long for us to pronounce.
First semester result was declared. Stylo, as expected, was clear overall topper leaving behind her at second position by huge difference of 50 marks. Although we, the lazy group, had no competition or not even thought of having so with Stylo but something hurt us, very badly.
To soothe our feeling, we decided to play a prank against him. Since then everyone in hostel, everywhere in college, started talking about the “Computer” topper girl in programming class lovingly watching at “Electrical Engineer”, the overall topper, our Stylo. This was the only class that was held jointly.
“Stylo, why don’t you reply to her… gosh! She kept watching you in programming lab… you first ranker… She second… nice pair”
“Look at her… today again.. by god, she is in love with you”
“Hey, how come only you two did assignment… it cannot be coincidence… uh?..”
“I heard she likes Madras… and wants to settle there”
“you know.. She started learning Madrasi… pyaar to hai boss! kal mandir mai baal mai phool bhi lagayi”
(only after few years later we came to know that Stylo was Telugu which was different than Madrasi)
After few days, it started working. Cupid also joined our prank by striking Stylo very hard. Lucky he !!!
“I swear, I saw her watching me in class…”
“Computer is interesting branch.. I should apply for branch transfer”
(those days only waitlist used to join computer as this was considered un-engineering branch)
“Aiyo Ramachandra! She talks so sweet… I liked her speech in debate”
“She is like my Amma.. very nice girl… like Goddess Padmavati”
And within week, he convinced us to walk with him to Factory’s West Gate bus stop to catch 620 for morning programming lab…
That day, in computer lab when we all were busy finding ‘H’, ‘E’, ‘#’, ‘/’ and other ASCII characters scattered randomly on computer keyboard in a failed attempt to write our first “Hello World” program by typing first example of C Programming by Dennis Ritchie, Stylo mastered it within no time and proved after Ritchie that C is very powerful language and that it can be used for something else also other than typing “Hello World”.
“Hey… I compiled and no error… but do not know where is exe” Stylo tried to be as low as possible when he called her full attention on his computer screen.
We lost interest in the boring job of finding keys while typing and started watching the duo.
“Did you press F7 to compile…” she asked.
“No. I used command line prompt to compile the file.” Replied Stylo that bounced over our head but who was interested to know what command prompt compilation is.
“Hmm… let me see” Now she was completely leaning over Stylo. In jealous we started cursing ourselves to play the prank.
“Let me check configure file. Exe is not in work folder”
“… here it is”
We all came closer to see result. She ran the exe by typing command and it ran…
“Hello World, I LOVE YOU” we could read it clearly on the screen.
“Why it is not printing only Hello World.” her “Computer” mind was about to open program to “debug”.
“I guess it is speaking for me” It was Mr. Sithapathi Thimmapuram Yadhunandan Lakshminarayana Opillamani.
We braked our natural instinct to make “OOOOOOoooooooo…” sound, moment we found her eyes were locked with Stylo’s.
Twenty years later they both now own a million dollar software company in Chennai “FWG Software Private Limited”, happily married with two sons who have shorter… much shorter names than their father’s.
Oh yeah… I forgot to tell you full form of their company’s name. FWG stands for Factory’s West Gate.